|“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”…… Alexander Graham Bell||“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”…Bruce Lee||“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”…..Zig Ziglar|
Such beautiful words, quoted by such great successful men. And how true they are, how true. When I summed up the meaning of the above quotes, what I could understand is – success is all about having focus and the right attitude.
Why do we lose focus and concentration? There could be many reasons – some internal, whereas some reasons are external. Let us understand these aspects with an example. (Case scenarios are different for each one of us, but losing focus is a big hurdle that we all have and that we have to overcome.)
Martha, a young executive, has been given a project to complete, within a deadline of four days. She is part of a very energetic team and she knows her job well. Although Martha had taken up the project, she has some personal issues which had to be sorted. Also, she was just back from a long business tour and had a lot of catching up to do. To add to that, Martha’s work station was bang opposite the reception area. What are the factors that could lead to Martha not being able to finish her project on time? What are the factors that could meddle with her concentration and focus?
We can segregate the reasons into internal and external factors:
Internal Factors–Fatigue and lack of sleep due to the long journey. Stress and mental pressures due to personal issues she is facing. Worry about the backlog and future project deadlines, internal talks, racing thoughts, all these could lead to loss of focus.
External Factors – The reasons could be from different channels of communication, mainly visual, auditory and kinesthetic channels. Since Martha sits close to the reception, people’s movement could be a distraction. Also the continuous phone calls at the reception. Her current workload which could soon become urgent, along with her mobile phone where she is continuously getting phone calls – private and official, can be a distraction. To add to all these, colleagues who would drop in for a small chat or favor, boss’s disturbance, guests asking the way to someone’s cabin, etc.
Not in this case, but external factors can also be noise of vehicles or loud music, too cold or too hot temperature, bad seating arrangement, bad infrastructure, so on and so forth.
How can we improve our focus?
Our time, energy, and focus are not limitless. Nor will age treat us nicely forever, with kiddy gloves. All of them will eventually run out, sometime. It makes absolute sense then to use these factors wisely and get the most out of it. In this blog we will concentrate on building our focus, because without having the right amount of focus, neither time nor energy will help us achieve our goals, leaving us dissatisfied in life.
Focus? Is it easy for one to be focused in today’s world? No matter how much we work, plan, motivate ourselves to reach and achieve our goals, life is so full of technology cluttered distractions, that pull our attention away from what we want to achieve. So how do we build focus, how do we pull our attention away from distractions and focus on what we want to achieve?
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) shows us some excellent ways to overcome distractions and build focus.
- Through Dissociation
Dissociation is a very powerful NLP tool to work on distractions and build focus. Whatever the problem may be, NLP trains you to stop reacting in negative or overly emotional ways. Instead, NLP teaches you ways you can dissociate from the immediate emotional reaction and choose how you to want to respond. Response through choice.
- Through Anchoring
A great technique to help you improve your ability to deal with emotional or adverse situations by anchoring yourself to more pleasant memories and incidents. For example, when you are in an emotional or troubled state, you can remember a good memory that would bring peace and a smile to your lips. Think of that memory and push the thumb of your right hand onto the center of the palm of your left hand and anchor the pleasant thought. Now, whenever any sad or emotional thoughts come, repeat the thumb and palm exercise and you will feel the tension easing away, you will experience a calming effect. You can also push your finger and thumb together. The anchoring technique (conditioning), is one of the most powerful tools in NLP.
- Through Rapport
Where communication and relationship building is concerned, Rapport is one of the most powerful NLP techniques you can use because it can help you build trust and understanding very quickly with almost anyone. This will lessen miscommunicationgiving you the freedom to focus on achieving your goals.
- Through Extending Restrictions
Sometimes whilst working or it could be studying, our mind starts wandering and we feel like taking a break because we cannot focus anymore. At such times, we should stop ourselves from taking a break. We should extend our restriction by forcing ourselves to work or study for some more time, maybe half hour or so. In this technique, it is important to determine the goal, in this case we extended it by half hour. Determine short goals like, finishing a page of the book you are reading or working for another half hour. Remember, your goal should not be to try to complete the work. Then you would not be successful in achieving your goal. Extendinglimitations helps you walk that extra mile.
Building focus and concentration takes time and effort. Fine tune your abilities to remove distractions with the right tools and the right attitude.Make life simple. Always start your day on a positive note, with determination and intention of having a productive day. Set 3-4 targets for each day and set out to achieve it. Review your achievements of the day and don’t be too hard on yourself if everything was not achieved. Schedule it for the next day. Slowly and steadily this becomes a winning habit, an investment that will be worth it, to cultivate and nurture. Your habits will soon become your assets.
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